Types of first aid courses and qualifications

Choosing the right first aid course: Your guide to essential skills

First aid is not just a skill; it's a life-saving necessity. Knowing how to respond effectively can make all the difference, whether it's a minor scrape or a major emergency. In the UK, various first aid courses and qualifications equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to handle diverse medical situations. In this blog, Rose will explore the different types of first aid courses available, their importance, and how they align with relevant legislation and best practices.

Key facts and statistics

  • According to the Health and Safety Executive, workplace accidents are prevalent, with over 600,000 non-fatal injuries reported in the UK in 2020/21.
  • The British Heart Foundation highlights that approximately 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the UK each year.

Key definitions

  • Basic First Aid - Covers essential skills such as CPR, wound care, and managing choking incidents.
  • Paediatric First Aid - Focuses on responding to medical emergencies involving infants and children, including CPR for children.
  • First Aid at Work (FAW) is a comprehensive course designed for individuals responsible for providing first aid in the workplace.
  • Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) - A shorter course providing basic first aid skills suitable for low-risk work environments or as a supplementary qualification for designated first aiders.

Legislation, regulations, and best practice

  • The Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 mandate employers to provide adequate first aid training and facilities in the workplace.
  • The Resuscitation Council UK sets CPR and resuscitation training standards, ensuring consistent and effective practices.
  • Best practice guidelines from organisations like the British Heart Foundation offer insight into first aid techniques and protocols.

Types of first aid courses

These are the types of first aid courses:

Basic first aid

  • Ideal for individuals seeking foundational knowledge in administering immediate care.
  • Covers CPR, wound management, burns, and handling medical emergencies.

Paediatric first aid

  • It is essential for parents, childcare providers, and anyone working with young children.
  • Includes CPR for infants and children, managing choking, and recognising childhood illnesses.

First aid at work (FAW)

  • Tailored for designated first aiders in the workplace.
  • Comprehensive training covering a wide range of injuries and medical conditions, including fractures, burns, and heart attacks.

Emergency first aid at work (EFAW)

  • Suited for individuals in low-risk work environments or as an introductory course for designated first aiders.
  • Focuses on basic first aid skills such as CPR, wound care, and managing unconscious casualties.

Recommendations for implementation

  • Assess your specific needs - Consider your workplace requirements, family situation, or personal interests to determine the most suitable first aid course.
  • Choose accredited providers - Ensure the course is delivered by reputable organisations adhering to recognised standards.
  • Regular refreshers - First aid skills degrade over time, so regular refresher courses are crucial to maintaining proficiency.


Investing in first aid training is not just a legal obligation; it's a moral imperative. By equipping yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge, you become a crucial link in the chain of survival. Whether at home, work, or in the community, your ability to respond effectively in an emergency can save lives.

Ready to take the next step? Click here to explore our range of accredited first aid courses and qualifications, empowering yourself to make a difference when it matters most. Educating ourselves and others creates safer environments and builds stronger communities. Let's make first aid knowledge a universal standard, ensuring no one is left helpless in a medical emergency.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Choosing the right first aid course - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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